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At This Hour

Source: Russia Buying Rockets And Artillery Shells From North Korea; Body Found In Memphis Identified As Abducted Teacher; Health Officials: New COVID Vaccine Akin To An Annual Flu Vaccine. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 06, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: New this morning, a source telling CNN Russia is in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery from North Korea and they plan to use the weapons in Ukraine. Let's go over to CNN's Kylie Atwood, who's live at the State Department with this new reporting. Kylie, tell us more what you're learning.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Kate, according to this U.S. official based on newly declassified U.S. intelligence, Russia is in the process of buying weaponry from North Korea. As you were saying, those rockets and that artillery, it is something that Russia needs on the battlefield in Ukraine and that is why U.S. officials believe that they're in the process of buying this right now.

We don't know exactly when it's expected to get to Russia. But I just want to read you a quote from a U.S. official that points to the impact that sanctions are having and that being one of the reasons that this purchase is in the process of happening, saying "this purchase indicates that the Russian military continued to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions. We expect Russia could continue to purchase additional North Korean military equipment going forward."

Now, we should note, Kate, that just last week, the Russians, reportedly according to U.S. intelligence, picked up Iranian drones. It's very clear right now that these sanctions are having an impact on the Russian weaponry. Now, of course, when it comes to the Russian economy, the impact sanctions can have there is a bit blunted because of the income Russia continues to have due to its energy sales. But the U.S. is watching closely as Russia is turning to these rogue nations to try and be able to sustain this war in Ukraine, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it seems clear it's having an impact on their ability to resupply for sure, at least on the battlefield. Great reporting, Kylie, it's great to see you. Thank you.

Coming up for us. The nation's top health officials making the case today that new COVID boosters will be like the annual flu shot. What you need to know? Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BOLDUAN: Let's go to Tennessee right now where the Memphis Police Chief is speaking, of course, this is after the body was identified of the missing teacher Eliza Fletcher. Let's listen in.


CERELYN DAVIS, CHIEF OF POLICE, MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: All our partner agencies was nothing less than symphonic. We are also very grateful for the hundreds of tips that came through our Crimestoppers and other platforms from our citizens at large. Our engaged and supportive community is truly our most valued asset. Just remember that this still is an ongoing investigation. At this time, I would like to bring up FBI Special Agent in Charge, Joe -- Doug Korneski. Thank you.

DOUG KORNESKI, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Good morning. First and foremost, on behalf of the FBI, I want to extend the extreme sympathy and condolences of our office to the family and friends of Eliza. While most of us did not know her prior to this tragedy through the course of the recent investigation, we got a small glimmer into the light that she was to her family and friends, and community. Next, I just want to commend the immense collaborative efforts of the local, state, and federal law enforcement during this investigation.

As a family knows, every possible resource that we had as a law enforcement community to include the FBI was brought to bear to both find Eliza and her perpetrator and hold him accountable. And as simply last, I just want to thank the community for their support during this investigation, the many tips, and leaves that we received. We are a member of this community as well. And this -- the situation -- this tragedy impacts as deeply as well. So with that, is when again I want to thank the community.

Next, I'll be followed by the Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ali Roberts from ATF.

ALI ROBERTS, ATF ACTING SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Thank you. First, on behalf of ATF, I'd like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy. No resources was spared to locate and arrest the individual responsible for this comprehensible violent crime. ATF utilized resources such as assigning special agents, our canine, and utilizing an eTrace database. We also utilize our expertise as we work with state and local partners to bring about justice to the family and friends, a reference to this tragedy. I would like to bring next up U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller.

TYREECE MILLER, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: Thank you. Good afternoon. On behalf of the United States Marshal Service, we certainly want to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Eliza Fletcher -- her friends and family and those that knew her. As I understand it, she touched many lives and was certainly a loss. As I've said on numerous occasions, the Marshal Service has a very unique relationship with the Memphis Police Department.


And anytime they call, we're there to assist. We were glad to receive their call on Saturday when a suspect had been identified. We then went about finding the suspect vehicle in question, as well as the suspect himself. He was spotted. The vehicle was spotted in an apartment complex. And we also conducted surveillance on him. And then when he tried to make a move, we went in and made the arrest safely and took him into custody and turned him over to the custody of the Memphis Police Department.

And after that, we also participated in the search efforts to find Miss Fletcher all day, Sunday, and all day Monday. And it's been stated, it just -- it was not the outcome we were looking for. We were dedicated and committed to continue those search efforts and assist our partners until she was found. Next, I will turn it over to District Attorney General Steve Mulroy.

STEVEN MULROY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: Thank you. Good morning. I also want to add my condolences and the condolences of my office to the family of Liza Fletcher. To lose someone so young and so vital is a tragedy in and of itself, but to have it happen in this way with the senseless act of violence, it's unimaginable. And we express our deepest condolences. We're praying for them. I'm praying for Liza and I'm praying for the family.

With respect to the family, both law enforcement and our office was in contact with the family throughout this long weekend. They have been fully cooperative throughout that entire process. And in contrast to whatever baseless speculation you might have seen, we have no reason to think this was anything other than an isolated attack by a stranger. With respect to the family, we were in touch with them as I said throughout the course of the weekend. I visited with the family personally over the weekend. I also visited them this morning when we had terrible news to deliver to them.

And I have a message from the family that I want to express to all of you, the public, but also the media. Please respect their privacy. Please allow them to grieve. At an appropriate time, they will be making a statement. I believe, a written statement will be forthcoming. But we really do ask that you avoid intrusive questioning and respect their privacy.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend all of the law enforcement, the people behind me, and all the agencies they recommend -- they represent. I had the opportunity to go to the command center over the course of the weekend. And I saw with my own eyes the seamless cooperation among all of them. Chief Davis referred to it a moment ago with symphonic, I think that's an entirely appropriate adjective. I watched on myself how they cooperated and I was very impressed with the speed with which they developed leads, the speed with which they turned around test results, and the diligence will wish they coordinated the search efforts. They are all to be commended. As for our office, the defendant was arraigned this morning on charges of kidnapping and tampering with evidence. He'll be arraigned tomorrow morning on new charges that we now have to bring, of first-degree murder, premeditated murder, and murder in the course of perpetration of a kidnapping. Any kind of violence, of course, is unacceptable but repeat violent offenders particularly deserve a strong response. And that's what they'll get from this district attorney's office. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and work closely with them as we already have so that we can do our best to bring justice to this tragic situation.

And I'll end there. I will note that because this is still an ongoing investigation and a pending case, and I as a prosecutor have certain legal limits on what I can say, there are probably limits to what kinds of questions that I can answer that can be answered by anybody. But I'll just end there. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This question is for anyone in law enforcement. Do you know the manner of death, A., and B. was she killed in the vehicle?

DAVIS: It's too early for us to determine the place and method of death at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She -- can you describe --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect initially according to the affidavit was not being cooperative with authorities. Did the suspect ultimately help you find this victim?


DAVIS: At this time, I can't respond. We're still working with that suspect, but at this time we have not gotten very much information from that individual.


DAVIS: Say that again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May anyone else be charged who is involved?

DAVIS: It's still early on. We're still uncovering various leads. This is an ongoing investigation. That's a possibility. But at this time, no one else has been charged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, can you describe how Ms. Fletcher ended into the vacant duplex?

DAVIS: We really don't know at this particular time. We worked together to identify various locations and that was our search concentration. And we were -- we're just blessed that we were able to identify this location and our officers were successful in finding her.

(CROSSTALK) DAVIS: That's it. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thank you all for the questions. That's all the information that we have right now. You can send that to the PIO's office if you have any additional questions, and we'll address on there. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: All right, as we've been listening in an update from local and federal law enforcement agencies involved in the search for the suspect and search for Eliza Fletcher as her body was identified this morning. The additional information received though is that they still, according to the police chief there in Memphis, they still have -- according -- as the way she put it, not getting very much information from the man charged.

As they said, the investigation continues. A lot of questions yet to be answered, but one thing is for sure, as they said this is not the outcome any of them were looking for, and the poor family of Eliza Fletcher now dealing with the intense loss in such a violent crime of this young woman. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: At this hour, the White House COVID Response Team is holding a briefing, the nation's top health officials are now making the case that new COVID boosters will be like the annual flu vaccine for Americans. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We likely are moving towards a path with a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual influenza vaccine with annual updated COVID-19 shots matched to the currently circulating strains for most of the population.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is live with more details on this. So, Elizabeth, what does this mean?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, what this means is that a COVID shot could become like a flu shot. Let's talk a little bit about flu first. We haven't talked much about it and that's because all the measures that we took to avoid COVID helped keep flu at bay, there was hardly any flu around. But there are signs that this upcoming season could be bad. Australia, which already had their winter, they had the worst flu season in five years. It doesn't mean that we will, but it means that we might.

Also, social distancing, masking, isolating, all those things that we've done for the past few years have resulted actually in decreased immunity to flu because so few people had flu. So we're going into the season with very little. The key now, get both shots. You've got two arms, get both shots, COVID and flu, when you go to get your shots in the next couple of months.

BOLDUAN: That's why -- that's why we have two arms so we can get to two annual shots.

COHEN: That's right.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Elizabeth, thank you so much.

COHEN: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: Also, a little -- in a little more than an hour, President Biden will be holding a Cabinet meeting at the White House. It comes just a day after he made campaign stops in two key battleground states, part of an intense new push by the president himself to hit the trail ahead of the November elections. Let's go to the White House. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is standing by at this hour. And, Jeremy, as your great reporting is this is the first time this cabinet is actually assembling since March, so what's on the agenda?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, the first Cabinet meeting in six months, and President Biden today intending to tout all that his administration has accomplished in those six months. And a lot of it, frankly, has come within just the last month when you look at the fact that President Biden, according to a White House official today intends to direct his Cabinet to focus on swiftly implementing some of the key pieces of legislation that Congress has passed, and that he has signed into law.

They include the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Chips and Science Act, as well as the Inflation Reduction Act. Those last two pieces of legislation passing within just the last month and signed into law by the president. And so the president's going to use this opportunity two months before election day to talk about what his administration has accomplished and how they're actually going to implement these pieces of legislation.

Notably, these pieces of legislation other than the Infrastructure Act, where you're starting to see some of that funding actually go out, they're going to take some time. They probably won't be implemented until the early part of next year and so the president and his administration taking the opportunity to focus on those victories and on what the progress from these pieces of legislation will actually look like going forward ahead of these midterm elections.

This administration has been trying to turn this midterm election into a choice election by contrasting with Republicans, but they're also increasingly comfortable with a referendum election because they believe that they have so much more they can run on now, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Jeremy, thank you so much.

Also, this today, Britain has a new prime minister, Queen Elizabeth inviting Liz Truss to form a new government during a handover meeting this morning in Scotland. Truss takes over for Boris Johnson who officially tendered his resignation today following repeated scandals as we've reported on. The new prime minister steps in to the job at a very -- at a very challenging time. Let's get overseen as Max Foster, joins us from London now for more on this. Max, what's on the agenda, or what is she facing on her first day as prime minister?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Torrential rain, first of all. She's about to arrive at Downing Street and it's just been a massive downpour here which just changed the plan a bit because I think the plan is for her to be in the street giving her speech straight away in the rain and might have to move it inside.


So that's really the key thing we're waiting for, to hear from Liz Truss. What does she expect from this Premiership? What does she want to achieve? Most of the country knows very little about her. What's interesting about her is she is a survivor. She's very tough. She is the longest-serving cabinet minister in the UK, so she serves under three different Prime Ministers and that shows how steely and tactical she actually is. But the country doesn't really know her very well. And through this election campaign, which is targeted at Conservative Party voters, she's going to really give away any her detail in her policy. So we're expecting to hear more about that.

And absolutely top of the list is the energy price crisis. So the bills that households are facing, escalating, and very likely to cause an economic crisis in this country if she does nothing about it. The big challenge, though, is she's also promised lower taxes. So somehow she needs to find something like $100 billion to pay for this price freeze, but also reduce taxes. That's the big immediate challenge. And then we want to hear about where she sees Britain on the world stage because she has a slightly different view from Boris Johnson, who was very close, or seems to be close to Donald Trump, not so close to Joe Biden.

But Liz Truss also sees the UK as more of an independent state not necessarily relying on the U.S. as the UK has traditionally done perhaps coming close to the countries like India, for example. She's also got a bit of a tense relationship with other parts of the EU. So where does she see the UK on the world stage, which countries is she going to rely on? With all of those answers in the next few minutes, so she appears in a very rainy Downing Street, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It seems just perfect for London. It's good to see you, Max, thank you so much. We'll stand by to see what Liz Truss has to say in the rain in a rainy London. Thank you all so much for watching, I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after this.